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Cheesy Orzo

With only one pot and 20 minutes, this creamy Cheesy Orzo is the perfect weeknight side! Lightly flavored with garlic, onion, and two types of cheese, orzo pasta is delicious on its own or pairs especially well with grilled meat and roasted vegetables or simply a salad.
Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword cheddar, cheese, noodle, orzo, parmesan, pasta
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 Servings


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 cups dried orzo a little less than a 16 ounce box
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley or basil for serving


  • Drizzle the olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add the finely chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Stir in the garlic and cook just until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  • Stir in the dried orzo to coat in the oil and toast lightly.
  • Pour in the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook, stirring often to keep the orzo from sticking to the bottom, until the orzo is tender and most of the stock and been absorbed, 10-15 minutes.
  • Fold in the shredded Cheddar and grated Parmesan cheese until melted and a creamy sauce coats the orzo. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve immediately with fresh parsley or basil if desired.


1. Stir occasionally to keep the pasta from sticking to the bottom of the pot
2. Most of the chicken stock will absorb, but you don't want the pasta to become completely dry. You will need a bit of the remaining creamy stock to melt the cheese and coat the orzo.
3. I folded in 1/2 cup Cheddar and 1/2 cup Parmesan. If desired, you can omit the Cheddar and mix in a full cup of Parmesan cheese.
4. Keep in mind, how much salt you add will depend on the salt content of your chicken stock. Adjust as needed to taste. Remember that the cheese contains salt as well, so keep tasting as you go.